Feb. 2, 2018 By Nathaly Pesantez
Dog Parker, the start up that brought high-tech dog houses outside Brooklyn storefronts for patrons to safely leave their pets in, is fully scaling back its operations in New York City after receiving a cease and desist letter from the Department of Transportation.
The company, which partnered with businesses throughout Brooklyn to bring temperature controlled, auto-sanitizing dog houses outfitted with cameras outside store fronts, launched its first dog house two years ago to both the delight and horror of some.
But the dog houses have been almost entirely wiped from Brooklyn’s streets over the past month, save for two at some Brooklyn Library locations, after a cease and desist notice sent to the company by the DOT in November.
In another notice sent just this week, the DOT said the dog houses had to be removed by midnight on Thursday, or else the company would face fines or have their dog houses impounded, Dog Parker said.
“The city has been in discussions with Dog Parker Inc. for more than a year about their structures that create obstructions on sidewalks that are clear public property,” a spokesperson for the DOT told the Greenpoint Post. “We understand from today’s event that the company indicated they removed the structures today from those locations in question.”
The company, however, says they’ve gone two years without a single violation or 311 complaint, and said the city was essentially being hypocritical in stifling Dog Parker, as it was responsible for its growth. The start up, for example, received seed grants from the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and was even invited by de Blasio’s office to exhibit at a smart cities expo last year.
“The regulatory challenges and aggressive regulatory climate in NYC is simply too burdensome to run our business here,” said Dog Parker CEO Chelsea Brownridge.
Dog Parker’s plight has alarmed several local leaders and businesses that had the dog houses outside their establishments.
“We cannot simultaneously champion Brooklyn as a growing hub of innovation while we stifle our very own home-grown businesses,” said Councilmember Stephen Levin (D-Greenpoint). “If we are serious about attracting good jobs and opportunities for our residents, we need to create the environment that supports organizations adding value to our community.”
Ike Escava, owner of the Bean Coffee Shop in Williamsburg, said news of Dog Parker’s departure from the city left him “heartbroken”.
“This service has been a god-send to dog owners and dogs alike,” Escape said. “We wish nothing but the best to the people running this innovative and valuable service.”
Brownridge said she is taking a look at legislation that could be enacted to allow for Dog Parker to return to the city and operate without its current restrictions. In the meantime, they are focusing on building Dog Parker nationwide.